Ned Lamont

And then there were five. On the air, that is.

Ned Lamont, the presumptive Democratic nominee for governor, aired his first television commercial Wednesday, joining Connecticut airwaves already crowded with ads for four of the five Republican gubernatorial candidates.

His opening spot is a casual, almost jaunty conversation with the camera as he drives a Chevy Equinox through a middle-class neighborhood in a Hartford suburb, sleeves rolled up, casting himself as thoughtful and accessible, not angry.  It was shot a week ago.

“So, I turned sixty-four this year. Kind of liberating, actually. I’m not running for governor as a stepping-stone, not thinking about re-election, not going to take a salary and I don’t need a government car. This one’s going to do just fine.

“Middle-class has taken a hit for years. Maybe it’s time for your governor to give back as well. I am going to be totally open about what we’re doing. And honestly, I can’t turn around the state in year one, but you’re sure as heck going to know where we’re going.”

Lamont, who lives in Greenwich, is the founder of a cable company that competed with major cable providers on college campuses and other locales by establishing small, customized systems for a cheaper price. He faces a primary challenge from ex-con Bridgeport Mayor Joseph P. Ganim, who has needled Lamont about his wealth throughout the campaign.

The ad was produced by Putnam Partners, a firm known for humanizing candidates in commercials that can stand out in the clutter of political advertising. The piece is designed to make Lamont someone voters can identify with — before GOP ads inevitably begin to brand him as a wealthy Greenwich resident.

Public reports filed with the FCC show the campaign is spending about $100,000 to air the spots on  the network affiliates, WFSB, WVIT, WTIC and WTNH.

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Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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